I am compelled to write in response to an opinion piece in your publication of July 16, 2019. It was entitled, “It is regrettable that education standards are being lowered.”
For the past several weeks, every effort has been made to assure the public that the same academic standard that existed prior to the introduction of the Government Tertiary Grant continues uninterrupted.
In the article, third paragraph, the writer stated, “We are concerned to learn that the government modified its educational funding for UB by abolishing the Bursary Programme and instituted a Tertiary Grant Programme.”
The Government Bursary Programme, which was limited to certain select students, has been eliminated.
Now, access to higher education is afforded to a greater number of persons seeking to better themselves and their lives. This will only serve to better the entire country.
The other academic grant-based programs – including the Teacher Education Grant, the Nursing Education Grant and the Two-Thirds Public Service Grant – are now managed by the university as a part of the Government Tertiary Education Grant.
The entire Ministry of Education staff who formally managed the Bursary Programme have been working at the university for more than a year. They will now also assist in managing the Government Tertiary Education Grant programme.
The writer further wrote, “Prior to this change in policy, students enrolled at UB and receiving government funding would lose the funding if their GPA fell below 2.75 or 3.0, depending on the program, for longer than permitted under the university’s academic probation policy.”
The only two programs that have a specific academic GPA requirement that must be maintained, in order to receive the stipend, are the Teacher Education Grant (3.00 GPA) and the Nursing Education Grant (2.75 GPA).
These specific academic requirements have not changed with the introduction of the Government Tertiary Grant Programme and the academic admission criteria for entry into the university also remains unchanged.
In order for a student to remain in all degree programs, the minimum academic standard must be maintained. The university’s academic probation policy has always been the maintenance of not less than a 2.00 GPA. As a matter of fact, this is a universal policy at most, if not all, universities.
Please know that the University of The Bahamas has and will always have strict admissions criteria. These have not changed.
To state that “it is regrettable that education standards are being lowered” is inaccurate and misleading.
The faculty at the university have full responsibility for the quality of education standards. Academic excellence at the University of The Bahamas will be maintained and strengthened as the university continues its transitional journey.
– Dr. Rodney D. Smith, president and CEO, University of The Bahamas